After GW’s game with Temple Feb. 22, Owls’ Coach John Chaney was asked what he expected of this week’s Atlantic 10 Tournament in Philadelphia, Pa.
“Electricity, just fire,” he said. “The league is so balanced and teams have nothing but contempt for each other.”
The A-10 has become one of the strongest conferences in the nation and this week’s conference tournament should be one of the most competitive in league history.
Five A-10 teams were ranked in the top 25 at some point this season, and the conference could get as many as six teams in the NCAA Tournament when the 64-team field is announced Sunday.
GW Coach Mike Jarvis said he believes his Colonials will be one of the teams in the NCAA Tournament, even if it does not win the A-10 Championship.
GW plays its first game of the A-10 Tournament Thursday at 2:30 p.m. against 23rd-ranked Massachusetts in the quarterfinals at the Corestates Spectrum. The Colonials just completed their winningest regular season under Jarvis. GW won 21 games under Jarvis in 1995-’96 and 1992-’93.
The Minutemen (20-9, 12-4 A-10) defeated Virginia Tech 64-58 in Wednesday’s first round. GW lost by 31 points at the Mullins Center Jan. 10 in its only game with UMass this season. However, UMass forward Tyrone Weeks did not play against Virginia Tech Wednesday and is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game with the Colonials.
If GW (22-7, 11-5 A-10) wins Thursday, it would play either Temple or St. Joseph’s in the semifinals Friday night. If GW survives to play in the championship game Saturday, the Colonials could face Xavier, Rhode Island, Dayton or St. Bonaventure.
Winning the conference championship would give GW an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. If the Colonials do not win the title, they must hope to receive an at-large bid from the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee Sunday.
“The conference is so tough,” Jarvis said. “I really believe that come tournament time, the A-10 Tournament is going to be the place to be on the East Coast.”
GW, UMass, Xavier (19-7, 11-5 A-10), Temple (20-8, 13-3 A-10) and Rhode Island (21-7, 12-4 A-10) all were ranked in the top 25 this season and are expected to be in the NCAA Tournament. In addition, Dayton (19-10, 11-5 A-10) also may gain an at-large bid.
“People don’t realize (the A-10) is one of the two or three best conferences in the country,” Chaney said. “It is one of the best kept secrets in the nation.”
Student tickets for the A-10 Tournament cost $5 and are on sale at the GW Newsstand. For $20, students can get tickets to the game and ride a GW-run bus that will take students to Philadelphia before each GW game and return to Washington after the game. Students interested in NCAA Tournament tickets should call 994-3157.